Story of Support: Larry Eckler

Larry first learned of Household Goods about fifteen years ago, when he read a newspaper article about the organization. The article included a picture of founders Ira and Barbara Smith. One Saturday, Larry was taking a morning run and saw the Household Goods sign and realized, “Those are the people I just read about!” He introduced himself and said he might be interested in volunteering. His children were growing up, and he was looking for a way to feel more connected to the community. Within three days, Ira called and asked if Larry could help out the following Saturday. Not only has he been volunteering every Saturday since that time, but he was a member of the board for more than ten years, and he still serves on the operations committee.

When Larry first started volunteering, Household Goods had no trucks and no single home base.  It had various staging centers where furniture was collected, and volunteers would call up people who owned trucks and ask, “Could you pick up a mattress here and deliver it there?” Larry’s father had been in the furniture business, and Larry had learned early how to pack a vehicle efficiently. In the early days, he helped volunteers and clients fit as much as possible into their cars and trucks. 

A Busy Man

Larry has another job, doing business development for the biotech and life sciences industry. It keeps him busy. Why would a busy man offer to give up his Saturday mornings, week after week? “It’s an incredibly rewarding way to spend your time,” said Larry. “I really like the sense of community. I’m proud to work with people who are committed to service. Nothing is more rewarding than helping people who are truly appreciative.”

Larry sees other benefits in volunteering at Household Goods. He meets people who aren’t just like he is, and he relishes his contact with all the volunteers, with the entire truck crew, and with Ira and Barbara, who strike him as great role models of how to remain vital into your later years. That is, he feels like a special part of a larger family. Furthermore, he feels that working at Household Goods makes him grateful for what he has. 

Larry does other volunteer work at the library, and he also has a civic history of involvement in recycling, which meshes well with one of Household Goods’ purposes.  However, Household Goods is different in one important way from other organizations Larry has worked with. “The bigger we become,” said Larry, “the more pent-up demand we become aware of. There’s always more need out there.”

The volunteers at Household Goods meet that need, and  Larry swears that they have a good time as well. Working there makes him feel vital. “I feel part of something bigger than myself,” he said. “Another great thing is that we’re always attracting new volunteers.” Perhaps his story helps explain why.